Oak Brook families to sleep outside Saturday
Jack Crews and Caleb Lagestee, both from Clarendon Hills, hold up a cardboard box like the ones they'll be spending the night in for their church youth group. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:30AM
OAK BROOK — Grace Stevenson figures spending one night sleeping outside is the least she could do.
That’s why the 12-year-old member of Christ Lutheran Church of Oak Brook is returning Nov. 3 to participate for the second consecutive year in Sleep Out Saturday. The event was started by Bridge Communities for the purpose of raising money to help homeless families in DuPage County and raise awareness.
Participants will spend the night outside in tents, boxes, cars and sleeping bags in parking lots, parks and back yards to raise awareness about family homelessness and raise money for Bridge Communities’ Transitional Housing Program.
“It was really eye-opening. I slept in a box in a back yard,” Grace said. “It gave us an idea of what homeless people go through, but still was very different. I wouldn’t want to experience it on a regular basis.”
About 2,000 DuPage County residents are expected to sleep outside for the ninth annual event.
Sisters Molly, 14, and Claire, 11, Garvin, of Western Springs, are two of about 50 middle-school members of Christ Church of Oak Brook planning to participate. This is the first time taking part for the sisters.
“You really never know someone’s background, and there are people from right around where we live who are homeless,” Claire said.
Molly said she believes taking part in Sleep Out Saturday is a good way to get a small taste of what the homeless experience.
“It’s also makes us glad that we’re so fortunate,” she said.
Pete Stearns, the middle school ministry coordinator for Christ Church of Oak Brook, said it is an important experience for the youth.
“The problems of the world aren’t necessarily far away; they’re right here,” he said.
Sleep Out Saturday kicks off at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at 505 Crescent Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, with a free outdoor rally.
For more information on Sleep Out Saturday, to participate, or to sponsor a “sleeper,” call (630) 545-0610 or visit www.SleepOutSaturday.org.